Go Wizardry

All About the Many Aspects of Go
We have millions of friends around the world... and they all play go!

Kidō Yearbook, April 1973, Pro Best Ten Analysis, Part I

How to Read Japanese Go Analysis

From the Kidō Yearbook, April 1973


Here is the ultimate challenge in reading Japanese go analysis: a page from the 1973 Kidō Go Yearbook (棋道1973囲碁年鑑). (The first page is given here, the last page next month.)


Below that, one sees the characters: 4月臨時増刊号(Shigatsu Rinji Zōkan-Gō = April Special [literally “Temporary”] Publication Issue) and on the right side of the line:日本棋院発行 (Nihon Ki-in Hakkō = Nihon Ki-in Publication). For GoWizardry, instead of the usual format this time the material is broken down piece by piece, with notes given right next to the original Japanese. Therefore, although this is complex work, it is not beyond anybody’s comprehension.


The game here is from the Pro Best Ten tournament: プロ十傑戦決勝五番勝負 (Puro Jūkessen Kesshō Goban Shōbu) (= Pro Best Ten Final, Best of Five [i.e., three wins needed for victory]) 第2局 Dai 2 Kyoku (= Game 2)

Black (先番 = Senban): Honinbō (本因坊) Ishida Shūhō (石田秀芳) Note: Shūhō was the honorary name Ishida assumed when he won the Honinbō title.

Win by resignation (中押勝 = Chūoshi-kachi) 9 dan (= 九段 = kudan) Iwata Tatsuaki (岩田達明)

Note: Instead of indicating that Iwata played White, the only notation is that he won the game by resignation. However, Chūoshi-kachi (中押勝) literally means “While Pushing, Wins,” that is, while still playing, the opponent gave up. Had the result been the reverse, with Black winning by resignation, those characters, 中押勝, would have been displayed over the 先番 above Ishida’s name.



Here is the first paragraph. It starts with: [第1譜] (= Dai Ippu = Figure 1)

黒7以下(= Kuro 7 ika = Black 7 and the following) 白34まで(Shiro 34 made = up to White 34) 大ナダレ(= Ōnadare = Large Avalanche) の (= no = possessive particle) 大型 (= Ōgata) 定石 (= jōseki) が(= ga = subject particle) 出現した。(= shutsugen shita = appeared.) Note thatした(shita) is the past tense of the verb する (suru = to do). 定石なので(= is jōseki so) どうということはないが(= dō to iu koto wa nai ga = there is nothing special about it, but) その中にも(= sono naka ni mo = even within that [sequence])対局者(= taikyoku-sha = opponents of the game) の (= no = possessive particle) 意志 (= ishi = will, or doggedness) が (= ga = subject particle) 現われている (= arawarete iru = is seen) Note that the character現is the same as the one in the combination 出現preceding it. 黒は35まで中原を重視し(= Kuro wa 35 made chūgen wo jūshi shi = As for Black, up to 35 the center expanse [literally, the “middle plain”] is seen as important and…) 簡明を(kanmei wo = simple and clear to be) 期そうとしている (= kisō to shite iru = seemingly expected). Note that期そうis the verb form of期する (= kisuru = to expect) that indicates that one seems to be doing something, in this case “expecting.” それに対して(= sore ni taishite = Opposing that) 白も32などと(Shiro mo sanjūni nado to = White [plays] 32 and the rest to) Note that “Shiro mo” here means “on White’s part” and “nado,” usually with the meaning of “etc.,” or “something like,” indicates that White uses a special strategy. 黒の意図(= Kuro no ito = Black’s intention) を (= wo = object particle)看破して(= kanpa shite = destroy and) 反発している (= hanpatsu shite iru = counterattack).

So the translation is: With Black 7 and the following, through White 34, the large scale avalanche jōseki appeared. Since it is jōseki, there is nothing special about it, but within that [sequence] the doggedness of the players is shown. Black made the moves through 35 seeing the center area as important, seeming to expect simple and clear [play]. Opposed to that, on White’s part the maneuver with 32 and the rest was used to counterattack in order to frustrate Black’s intentions.



Ishida Honinbō on the left is all smiles after winning a game in the 9th Annual Pro Best Ten Title Match against Iwata Tatsuaki 9 dan.   

imageThe second paragraph:白38以下(= Shiro sanjū-hachi ika = White 38 and the following) またもや (= mata mo ya = yet again) [Note: the meaning would be the same by just writing “mata mo,” but adding “ya” intensifies the expression and gives it a colloquial sense] 定石型が (= jōseki kata = jōseki model) 出現した。(= shutsugen shita = appeared.) Note: this is the same character combination that was used above. It is a very common word. 碁盤の左上、右下(= goban no hidari ue, migi shita de = go board’s upper left [and] lower right で (= de = location particle = at) 二つの大きな定石型が(= futatsu no ōki na jōseki kata ga = two large scale jōseki models) 出現して(= shutsugen shite = appear and…) 早くも (= hayaku mo = already; literally, “quickly even”) この碁の骨格 (= kono go no kokkaku = the structure of this game) [Note: the word “go” is often used in the sense of a real game; also, here the use of “no,” the possessive particle, is perfectly illustrated, i.e., “the structure of this game,” which might also be rendered as “this game’s structure.] が (= ga = subject particle) [ Note: another ideal example of the use of a particle, here ga, which is often considered as being “is” but really only points out that the preceding word is the subject] 決まった (= kimatta = decided) 感じ (= kanji = feeling) さえある。(= sae aru = even is).Translation: With White 38 and the following, a jōseki model once again appeared. In the upper left and lower right of the go board two large scale jōseki models appeared, and the feeling is that already the structure of this game is decided.


The third paragraph: 黒61、63のハネツギが(= Kuro rokujū-ichi, roukujū-san no hane-tsugi ga = The hane of Black 61 and connection of 63 [are]) Note: “hane-tsugi” is a compound noun formed by “hane” plus “tsugi.” “Tsugi” is the noun form of the verb, “tsugu,” or “to connect.” Also, in this phrase the subject particle “ga” may be thought to mean “are,” but actually the particle just identifies “hane-tsugi” as the subject.始めて出た(= hajimete deta = first came out) 緩着。(= kanchaku = “loose move,” i.e., a mistake) 黒61では(= Kuro rokujū-ichi de wa = At Black 61) 長駆黒 aと(= chōku kuro a to = if Black “a” from afar) Note: “to” is a particle that essentially means “if” here すくってみたい。(= sukutte mitai = want to undermine and see [what happens]). Note: “sukutte mitai” is a compound verb where “mitai” (“want to see”) augments “sukutte” to give it the meaning “wants to undermine [the opponent’s position] and see [what happens].” 白には(= Shiro ni wa = for White’s part) 適当な(= tekitō na = suitable) 応手がなく(= ōshu ga naku = answering move nonexistent) Note: Here, too, it is tempting to translate the subject particle “ga” as “is,” but it really just makes応手 = answering move (or “response”) the subject 困ったところ。(= komatta tokoro = stymied place.) 白64が打てては (= Shiro rokujū-yon ga utete wa = White being able to play 64) Note: “Utete” is the potential verb tense of 打つ = to play [a move], meaning that “White’s being able to play 64.” Also “wa” in this sentence is the topic particle, making the whole phrase “White’s being able to play 64” the topic 碁はゆっくりしてきた。(= go wa yukkuri shite kita. = came to make the game a leisurely [one].) Note: Again, “go” here means “game,” in fact, specifically this game, and “wa” is a second topic particle, used now for emphasis. ところが(= tokoro ga = however) Note: “tokoro ga” is an idiomatic phrase. The particle “ga” is sometimes the subject particle and sometimes a simple conjunction, “but,” and sometimes, as here, both! 白68が地に気をとられた (= shiro rokujū-hachi ga ji ni ki wo torareta = White 68 [was played because] territory captured [White’s] fancy) Note: “torareta” is the past tense of the passive verb form of “toru” = to capture 大緩着。(= ōkanchaku = huge mistake) Note: “kanchaku” literally means a “loose move.” 黒69と(= Kuro rokujū-kyū to = With Black 68) 一撃され、(= ichigeki sare, = struck with a blow) Note: “sare” is the passive form of the verb “suru” and means “to incur [detrimentally] [something] done [to one] 白70以下(= shiro nanajū iku = White 70 and the following) へっぴり腰で (= heppiri-goshi de = with a submissive posture) Note: “heppiri-goshi” literally means to “bow deeply,” or “kowtow” 逃げ回ることになり(= nige-mawaru koto ni nari = becoming a situation of running away submissively) 左方の白と(= sahō no shiro to = with the White [stones] to the left) 完全に (= in an ideal manner) カラミ形にされた。(= karami katachi ni sareta. = a shape where both groups are attacked at the same time.) Note: “karami” is written in katakana because it is a technical term, but the katakana also emphasizes it. “Karami” is sometimes translated as a “two-pronged attack” 白68で78とともかく一方だけでも形についておかなければならなかった。(= Shiro rokujū-hachi de nanajū-hachi to tomokaku ippō dake de mo katachi ni tsuite okanakereba naranakatta. = For White 68, with 78 arriving at shape at least on one side alone had to be done [once and for all].) Note: “tsuite okanakereba naranakatta” literally means “to arrive [at some point] and leave [things] at that had to be done そこで(= soko de = at that point) 黒が68なら(kuro ga rokujū-hachi nara = if Black [plays] 68) 白bを (= shiro b wo = White b [using]) 利かし (= kikashi = forcing move [and]) 下辺白cの攻めに回る (= kahen shiro c no seme ni mawaru = lower side White c attack turn to) という (= to iu = so to speak) 運び (= hakobi = movement) である。(= de aru = is). Note: “kikashi” here means “forcing move,” but actually this is the verb form of “kikasu” or “to force” in the infinitive tense, so it has the sense of “to force and [do something else,” i.e., then play on the lower side. “De aru” is the literary form of the copula “desu” and is not used in speech. “Hakobi” is a common go term meaning “movement of stones.”

Translation: The hane and connection of Black 61 and 63 are the first slack moves. One wants to slide to Black “a” from afar undermining White to see what happens. White would have no suitable response here and would be in trouble. White is able to play at 68 and thus bring the game into a leisurely pace. However, White 68 is played from being carried away by the attraction of territory and is a big mistake. It incurs the attack of Black 69, so that White has to slink away with 70 and the following moves in a pitiful posture, so that White is brought under an ideal two-pronged attack involving the group on the left. White 68, whatever happens, had to be played at 78, making shape at least on one side. At that point, should Black play at 68, White makes a forcing move at “b” and turns to play the attacking maneuver at “c” on the lower side.


The fourth paragraph: 黒は89、91、93と(= Kuro wa hachijū-kyū, kyūjū-ichi, kyūjū-san to = As for Black, with 89, 91 and 93) 順風満帆 (= junpū manpan = all speed ahead) である。(= de aru = literary form of the copula “desu” or “to be”). Note: “Junpū Manpan” is a classical form of four connected characters that make up an idiomatic meaning, much like a proverb. There are hundreds of these four character forms. With this one, 順風 = junpū means steady or regular wind and 満帆 = manpan, meaning full sails. So the idiom may be translated as “everything going along well.” This is not a common four character idiom, but it is often used in go literature.

Translation: With Black 89, 91 and 93, everything is going well for Black.

imageThe fifth paragraph: 白も94,96などと (= shiro mo kyūjū-yon, kyūjū-roku nado to = with something like White 94, 96 also) 反発 (= hanpatsu = counterattack) を見せているが、(= wo misete iru ga = is showing a counterattack, but) これとても (= kore totemo = this altogether) 脱出のためのもがきにも (= dasshutsu no tame no mogaki ni mo = struggling in order to move out, but nonetheless) 等しく、(= hitoshiku = equivalent to) このあたり(= kono atari = around here) 白の苦戦は(= shiro no kusen wa = White’s difficult and painful fight) おおうべくもない。(= ōu beku mo nai. = has to face.) Note: this last phrase, “ōu beku mo nai,” is an archaic expression that is not found in standard dictionaries. This can be frustrating to those trying to learn a language that is difficult to begin with. However, actually this is one of the great pleasures of reading Japanese! These olden words convey a sense of the rich tradition that go is imbued with, and when one is open to experiencing this aspect of the game as illustrated in language such as this, one starts to understand how Japanese themselves relish their culture. The actual meaning of the words is commonplace.

Tagged as: , , , ,

Leave a Reply


book cover

Go on the Go Collection: Volume I

Three booklets have been assembled into the collection here.

Buy this Book at Amazon

Go For Everyone

Go For Everyone

A New Method for Learning to Play the Game of Go

Buy this book

Book Cover

Journey to the West

This is a semi-autobiographical novel that depicts a unique American success story; a rags to riches tale of a man escaping his humble origins to make millions of dollars, but then he throws it all away due to the ancient character flaw of hubris.

Buy this Book at Amazon